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Jim Tomsula discusses Justin Smith, 49ers plans to stick with 3-4

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The San Francisco 49ers will continue with their current defensive alignment, according to head coach Jim Tomsula. We break down his comments on the 3-4, and Justin Smith's status.

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Jim Tomsula spoke with the media on Thursday at the NFL Combine, and he confirmed the San Francisco 49ers will stick with the 3-4 defense in 2015. He said, "Our personnel is set for that, and we'll continue that way."

Last month I heard the team was looking to switch to the 4-3. They subsequently promoted Eric Mangini into the defensive coordinator role, and he has a history with the 3-4. The team has the personnel in place for the 3-4, although it is also possible we could see enough roster changes to require some modest adjustments on the fly.

The team will be looking for a replacement for Ray McDonald, and Justin Smith's status remains a question mark. Smith and Tomsula have worked together for almost the entirety of Tomsula's time with the 49ers. The team hired Tomsula as defensive line coach in 2007, and Smith signed with the team in 2008. I can't imagine there's a player and coach that know each other better than these two.

Tomsula was asked about Smith's status, and he said he will meet with Smith after the Combine. Tomsula talked about how Smith has considered retirement each of the last few years, and the process has generally been the same for the two of them. Tomsula will give Smith time to think it over, and then they have met after the Combine to "shoot the baloney" in Tomsula's words. He confirmed Smith has been around to the facility to "bust his chops", and said that Smith has earned the right to make this decision on his terms and take his time to figure it out. I'd imagine in the next couple weeks we'll start to hear a little bit more on this. Ideally the team has an answer by the start of free agency, but at least before the 2015 NFL Draft.